William J. Ricca Surplus Sales

Government Surplus 1971-2018

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Reprinted here by The Carbine Collectors Club
with Bill's written permission

Help 4 Beginners

This page is dedicated to those new to the hobby. Throughout the years I have been asked some very basic questions. I hope the answers are informative and help build a foundation of knowledge, which will enhance your collecting experiences. My favorite answer is "We are all new at this; some of us are newer than others". ENJOY!

Question: I have a leather sling marked MRT. Who is this manufacturer?

Answer: MRT is not a manufacturer's abbreviation. Mildew Resistant Treatment (MRT) is an anti rot treatment applied to some leather and web items. Most 1945 manufactured web items I've inspected over the years were evidently headed for the tropics. Most GI production during the last year of the war was marked "Fungus Proofed" or FP. The earliest MRT marking I have observed is 1947.

Question: My Garand rifle has a lock screw that has one large screwdriver slot. I've seen no reference to it, anywhere.

Answer: The reason you've see no reference to it, is this lock screw was produced for M1's that were in service in South America. I'm not sure if the screw was made there, my suspicions are it was produced here and sold to South American governments by American parts dealers back in the 1960's and 1970's.

Question: I purchased a cleaning rod for my M1 carbine and the dealer said it was complete. There is a section missing out of one of the compartments of the web carrier.

Answer: The rod you purchased is designated Rod, Cleaning, M8. This rod was engineered specifically for the M1 carbine. Your dealer was correct, it is complete. The rod consists of an aluminum or steel "T" handle with a shaft attached. The second section is a unique length, just for the carbine. The overall length is such that you will not damage tips or brushes by ramming the back of the receiver. The case is designated Case, Carrying, M1. This case is also used for the sectional machine gun rod which consists of an extra section, thus when used with the M8, one compartment is empty.

Question: I have a web sling that has an anchor on the hardware. Does that mean the sling was contracted by the Navy?

Answer: No. The piece that has the anchor stamped into it is called the sling keeper. The anchor indicates the keeper was produced by North & Judd of Middletown, Ct. Sling manufactures produce neither the webbing, nor the hardware. They simply purchase the raw materials and sew the sling into the required configuration.

Question: I saw a reference to a cleaning rod which was designated as Barracks Rod. What does that mean?

Answer: In the past rifles were stored in arms racks under lock and key. These racks were stored within the sleeping facilities of the troops, called barracks. Barracks cleaning rods were nonsectional (one piece) and were used for cleaning the firearms when the troops returned from the field. One piece cleaning rods are stronger and unlike the sectional field type, there are no sections to break or bend.

Question: What is a grenade blank?

Answer: Actually there is not such designation as a grenade blank. It is a very dangerous term used by those who are careless. A blank has very low pressure from a fast burning powder. It is designed to emit a loud bang, simulating small arms fire. A grenade cartridge has a full powder charge from a slow burning powder, resulting in much higher pressures. One way to describe it is, it's a higher powder charge than normal small arms ammunition, without the bullet. Grenade cartridges propel heavy rifle grenades and pyrotechnic signals at high velocities. To attempt to use a grenade cartridge in place of a blank can result in serious injury. For American GI ammunition the following will help identify differences:

  • Cal. .30 M1909 Blank - Diameter roll, visible wad in mouth. Post 1999 Production has a star crimp, different in appearance than the Grenade Cartridge, but it takes experience to tell the differences. Inexperienced personnel may have trouble distinguishing the two.
  • M3 Grenade Cartridge - Closed Star crimp, also known as a Rose Petal Crimp.
  • Cal. .30 Carbine M6 Grenade Cartridge, Carbine - Closed rose petal crimp. There never was a carbine blank adopted by US forces.
  • Cal. 7.62 NATO M192 Blank - Diameter roll, with false bullet as part of case for ease of feeding.
  • M64 Grenade Cartridge - Rose petal crimp, opened mouth.
  • Cal. 5.56 mm M200 Blank - 7 point closed rose petal crimp.
  • M195 Grenade Cartridge - same as above These two are typical of a government issue screw up. The cartridges are identical in appearance and configuration. The only way to distinguish them is by a knurled ring about 1/2 inch up from the base of the Blank Cartridge. The Grenade Cartridge has no knurled ring. You will see all sorts of material printed about different colors used on the crimped end. Never go by the colors. Look for the knurled ring and be safe.

Question: What is the difference between a plated bore and a lined bore?

Answer: In the history of the Ordnance Dept. the research personnel were always looking for ways to extend bore life and help stop corrosion. Plated and lined bores were the answer. A plated bore is one which is chrome plated, usually from the beginning of the chamber to the muzzle. This helps fight the battle against rust and gives the bore a considerably longer life. A lined bore is one which has a 9 inch stellite liner, which starts at the end of the chamber. Stellite is an incredibly hard material and was used only in machine gun barrels. Aircraft machine gun barrels with stellite were rated at 6-7000 rounds of life, versus 1500 for unlined barrels of the same type. Stellite, although it does not have the same resistance to rust as chrome, will extend barrel life far beyond that of chrome. Here is a list of US accepted barrels I have observed:

Chrome Satellite
M14 M1919A4/M37
1911A1 .45 Auto M1919A6
M1919A4/M37 M2 HB Cal. .50
M1919A6 M2 AC Cal. .50
M16 M60

Question: What is a blank adapter?

Answer: While blank adapter is a common term, the designation is Blank Firing Attachment. When a blank is fired to simulate gunfire, there is no projectile. Without a projectile, all the burning gases escape from the muzzle. A blank firing attachment attaches to the muzzle end of the barrel and constricts precise amounts of gas. This constriction causes backpressure which feeds gases to the gas system of the firearm, allowing semi automatic, or automatic fire. Remove the BFA and the firearm becomes a repeater when used with blanks. Blanks can be very dangerous as they propel pieces of wad. NEVER point a firearm at anybody, even when shooting blanks. You will see for sale BFA's for the M1 carbine. This is a foreign manufactured item for use with blanks specifically produced for this attachment. Using this attachment with any other blank can result in injury or damage to your carbine. It is a great collectable to purchase, but don't ever use it as intended.

Question: What is meant by bore sighting?

Answer: Bore sighting is often used during production and rebuilding of small arms. It is used strictly to align the front and rear sights with the estimated point of impact of the bore. It does not take into consideration elevation, it estimates only windage. In the early days a long steel rod was inserted into the muzzle of the bore. Attached to the rod was an elbow telescope, which projected the bore's centerline to the eye of a viewer. The viewer then looked through the telescope and saw where the bore was pointing. He then adjusted the sights to the point he just observed. This procedure of aligning the sights to the bore, without firing a shot, is call bore sighting. In modern times bore sighting is done with lasers, and is not as important to rifles as it is machine guns. It would take enormous quantities of ammunition to align the sights of machine guns. Instead the machine gun is bore sighted, and only a small amount of ammunition is used to confirm or refine the sight adjustment.

Question: What was the status of the metal 1903 sight cover/protector. Was it ever used in the field.

Answer: This question will be debated until hell freezes over. Those that think it was just a shipping protector point out that it is very difficult to sight in on a target with the cover attached. They also point to WWII photos and all seem to be lacking the sight cover. There are those that say it was used in the field and point out that the cover can be removed and reinstalled upside down to make sighting easier. There are those to subscribe to the theory that if it was made, it was intended to be used in the field. The debate will go on. Whatever you decide to believe, I highly recommend that your 03/03A3 have one installed. An unfortunate fall on the front sight, and you can have a large repair bill. Depending upon the damage, removal of old and installation of new sights, can be quite a challenge to some people. Play it safe. They are cheap enough.

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